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Palliating Congestive Heart Failure – 3 things you need to know Dr. Jana Pilkey MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine Mar 14, 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Palliating Congestive Heart Failure – 3 things you need to know Dr. Jana Pilkey MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine Mar 14, 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Palliating Congestive Heart Failure – 3 things you need to know Dr. Jana Pilkey MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine Mar 14, 2013

2 Objectives To gain an understanding of what a CHF patient experiences at end of life To employ a symptom-oriented approach to CHF To understand why prognostication (& obtaining DNR) is difficult and to list strategies to help facilitate these discussions To list services available for the palliation of CHF and how to access them

3 Dying of Congestive Heart Failure is symptomatic and symptoms are often poorly controlled

4 Clinical Features

5 (Janssen, Pall Med, 2008)

6 Terminal CHF Severe symptoms in last hrs prior to death ( SUPPORT study Krumholtz, Circulation 1998 ) Breathlessness 66% Pain 41% Severe confusion 15% Regional Study of Care of the Dying study (Addington, Pall Med 1995) Dyspnea 50% Pain 50% Low mood 59% Anxiety 45%

7 Experience of Patients Lung Cancer Clear trajectory Feel well; told ill Understand diagnosis/ prognosis Relatives anxious Swing between hope/ despair Cardiac Failure Unclear trajectory Feel ill; told well Dont understand diagnosis/ prognosis Relatives isolated/exhausted Daily hopelessness (Murray, BMJ 2002)

8 Experience of Patients Lung Cancer Cancer/tx takes over Feel worse on tx Financial benefits Services available Care prioritized as cancer or terminal Cardiac Failure Shrinking social world Feel better on tx Less benefits Services less available Less priority as chronic illness (Murray, BMJ 2002)


10 Mrs. G. M. 87 y.o. referred with inoperable critical aortic stenosis PMHx: DM, OA, MI, Previous angio with 2 stents placed, previous CABG x3 10 years ago. Experiences R sided chest pressure every few days Takes NTG 0.4mg - If no response calls 911 Pressure at rest & on exertion – not predictable Dyspnea on mild exertion & feels faint if stands quickly In ER weekly

11 O/E: hr 60, bp 140/110. S1 soft, Normal S2. 6/6 SEM best at base with rad to carotids Mild bilat periph edema ++ Crackles half way up lung fields bilat. JVP 5 cm ASA. Meds: Ramipril 10mg po od, Furosemide 40mg bid, Slow K, Insulin Lantis and Novo-rapid, Tylenol #3, NTP 0.8mg/hr in day, NTG 0.4 mg SL prn, Hydralazine 5 mg po od, Simvastatin 20 mg od.

12 1) Establish code status and care desired by patient 2) Decrease emergency room visits Devise pall care plan to be implemented at home Must include counselling, and control symptoms Do we stop or can we further optimize cardio meds? Can we add in medications aimed at symptom control?

13 Pharmacologic Management DrugNYHA 1NYHA 2NYHA 3NYHA 4SurvivalHospital Admits Functional Status Diuretic X ACE-I Spirono -lactone X X B- blocker X Digoxin X (Doyle et al. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Care 2002)

14 Pain Chest pain 29% Other pain 37% ( Blinderman, J Pain Sympt Manage 2006) Inadequately dealt 90% (Gibbs, Heart 2002) Management Anti-anginals Opioids Revascularization TENS, Spinal cord stimulators Dyspnea Management Oxygen CHF medications Opioids Other

15 Used for pain and dyspnea Morphine and Hydromorphone Metabolized by liver and excreted by kidneys Both can build up toxic metabolites (HM safer) Fentanyl Cleared through liver Patches very strong – not for opioid naive Given subling or intranasal: quick onset lasts about 1 hr good for incident pain or dyspnea

16 Evidence for Opioids in CHF small (n=10), randomized, double-blind, crossover Morphine vs Placebo in NYHA Class III/IV 6/10 patients had improved breathlessness score Cochrane review 2010 – lack of evidence in CHF All expert opinion papers recommend their use (Johnson et al. Eur J Heart Failure 2001)

17 Symptom Oriented Palliation Depression and Anxiety Regular assessment Exercise program Relaxation exercises Antidepressants Consider nocturnal opioid +/- benzodiazipine

18 Pt wants palliation/avoid ER Started: HM 0.5mg qid and q1h prn (d/ced T#3) Fentanyl 50 mcg subling q15 min x 3 Furosemide dose doubled for 3 days (didnt want labs) Care plan: If chest pain or dyspnea – nitro and fentanyl Then call palliative care nurse for further advice Continue to see her Family Dr. and Endocrinologist Will require follow up


20 Prognostication is very difficult in congestive heart failure – discuss goals of care early

21 Case Study 2. Mr. C.D. 76 y.o. Male. No prior MI, CHF, TIA/stroke Extensive Anterior Wall STEMI and acute onset CHF What is the likelihood he will die in hospital? Be dead at 6 months?

22 Hospital Case-Fatality Rates According to Development of Heart Failure in Setting of ACS Group HF (+) HF (-) All patients 12.0% 2.9% STEMI 16.5% 4.1% Non-STEMI 10.3% 3.0% Unstable angina 6.7% 1.6% (Steg, Circulation 2004)

23 Factors Associated With An Increased Risk of Post-Discharge Death Characteristic STEMINon-STEMI Age (yrs) HR 95% CI HR 95% CI > Medical history HF MI TIA/Stroke Hospital complications Cardiogenic shock HF Stroke (Goldberg, Am J Cardiol,2004)

24 At Six-Month Follow-Up* STEMI NSTEMI UA Death5% (480/9414)6% (496/7977)4% (349/9357) Stroke1% (110/9173)1% (103/7749)1% (79/9176) Rehospitalized18% (1619/9147)19% (1501/7721)19% (1761/9150) *Excluding events that occurred in hospital (Goldberg Am J Cardiol 2004)

25 Phase 1 – initial symptoms, Phase 2 – plateau after initial management Phase 3 – declining functional status, exacerbations respond to rescue Phase 4 – Stage D HF Phase 5 – End of Life(Goodlin, J Am Coll Cardiol 2009)

26 Prognostication Very difficult to prognosticate Markers of poor prognosis (< 6 months) Liver failure, renal failure, delirium Unable to tolerate ACE-I due to bp NYHA Class 4 EF < 20% Frequent hospitalizations Cachexia (Hauptman, Arch Intern Med 2005; Ward, Heart 2002)

27 CCORT Risk Assessment Model

28 The predicted effects of adding medications and an ICD for a heart failure patient with an annual mortality of 20% and a mean survival of 4.1 years at baseline. Adding the above meds increases the mean survival by 5.6 years Estimates 1,2 and 5 year survivals Levy, Circulation, 2006

29 Left Ventricular Assist Device as Destination Therapy Rematch study: Improved survival and quality of life in NYHA Class 4 patients ineligible for transplant (NEJM 2001) Newer studies show a 50-60% survival at 2 years with new devices, better surgical techniques and a multidisciplinary approach (JACC 2012)

30 Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators and Pacemakers Leave Pacemakers intact Turn off/disable ICDs 73% - no discussion about turning off prior to last hours 8% - receive shocks minutes before death Inform Funeral Home Inform Funeral Home Plan ahead ! Plan ahead ! (Goldstein, Ann Intern Med 2004)


32 Initiating medical treatment 3-4 months into any treatment When medical condition deteriorates Acute medical or surgical crisis Decrease QOL or increase symptom burden When patient initiates When any member of the multidisciplinary team feels they wouldnt be surprised if the patient died within a year

33 Many people think about what they might experience as things change and their heart disease progresses. (Normalize) Have you thought about this? Do you want me to talk about what changes are likely to happen? Talking early allows patients to make own decisions

34 Palliative Care services are available & often underutilized for cardiac deaths

35 Issues in Palliative Care Lack support networks & communication Prognostication difficult DNR difficult issue Written on 5% (47% in Ca, 52% in AIDS) Wanted by pt in % Incorrectly Perceived by 25% of physicians 40% rescind Only 4% of CHF on palliative care programs (Gibbs, Heart 2002 & Krumholz, Circulation 1998)

36 Group meets every 6 weeks to discuss palliative cardiology patients Team consists of cardio and pall care MDs and CNSs Discuss referrals for end of life care, and symptom management

37 When Should I Palliate? Prognosis poor (<6 mo) Difficulty controlling symptoms Actively dying Patient requests Call anytime with questions

38 The Canadian Virtual Hospice provides support and personalized information about palliative and end-of-life care to patients, family members and health care providers.




42 References Ward, Christopher. The Need For Palliative Care in the Management of Heart Failure. Heart 2002; 87: Murray, Scott. Dying of Lung Cancer or Cardiac Failure: Prospective Qualitative Interview Study of Patients and Their Carers in the Community. BMJ. 2002; 325: Gibbs, JSR. Living With and Dying From Heart Failure: The role of Palliative Care. Heart 2002; 88; Hauptman, Paul. Integrating Palliative Care Into Heart Failure Care. Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165; Seamark, David. Deaths From Heart Failure in General Practice: Implications for Palliative Care. Pall Med; 2002; 16: Krumholz HM, Phillips RS, Harmel MB, et al. Resuscitation preferences among patients with sever congestive heart failure: Results for the SUPPORT project. Study to Understand Prognoses and Preferences for Outcomes and Risks of treatments. Circulation 1998: 98;

43 References Zambroski, Cheryl. Patients With Heart Failure Who Die in Hospice. AM Heart J 2005; 149: Pantilat, Steven. Palliative Care for Patients with Heart Failure. JAMA, 2004; 291: Hanratty, Barbara. Doctors Perceptions of Palliative Care for Heart Failure: Focus Group Study. BMJ 2002:325: Nanas John. Long-term Intermittent Dobutamine Infusion, Combined with Oral Amiodarone for End-Stage Heart Failure. Chest 2004; 125: Lopez-Candales, Angel. Need for Hospice and Palliative Care Services in Patients with End-Stage Heart Failure Treated with Intermittent Infusion of Inotropes. Clin. Cardio. 2004, 27, Totenberg JJ, Ewald GA, Adamson RM, Lietz K, Miller LW, Tatooles AJ, Kormos RL, Sundareswaran KS, Farrar DJ, Rogers JG. Risk assessment for continuous flow left ventricular assist devices: does the destination therapy risk score work? An analysis of over 1,000 patients. J Am Coll Cardiol Jul 3;60(1):44-51.

44 Arnold JMO et al. Canadian Cardiovascular Society consensus conference recommendations on heart failure Can J Cardiol 2006; 22(1): Hunt SA et al. ACC/AHA 2005 guideline update for the diagnosis and management of chronic heart failure in the adult. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005; 46: Charette SL. The next step: palliative care for advanced heart failure. J Am Med Dir Assoc 2006; 11(1); Goodlin SJ et al. Consensus statement: palliative and supportive care in advanced heart failure. J Card Failure 2004; 10(3): Derek Doyle, Geoffrey Hanks, Nathan I. Cherny, Sir Kenneth Calman. Oxford textbook of Palliative Medicine. Oxford University Press. 2002: DJA Janssen, MA Spruit, EFM Wouters, and JMGA Schols. Daily symptom burden in end-stage chronic organ failure: a systematic review Palliat Med, December 2008; vol. 22, 8: pp

45 Long JW, Healy AH, Rasmusson BY, Cowley CG, Nelson KE, Kfoury AG, Clayson SE, Reid BB, Moore SA, Blank DU, Renlund DG.Pantilat SZ, Steimle AE. Palliative care for patients with heart failure. Improving outcomes with long- term "destination" therapy using left ventricular assist devices. JAMA 2004; 291(20): , e1. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Jun;135(6): ; discussion doi: /j.jtcvs Hauptman PJ, Havranek EP. Integrating palliative care into heart failure care. Arch Intern Med 2005; 165: Booth S et al. The use of oxygen in the palliation of breathlessness. A report of the expert working group of the scientific committee of the association of palliative medicine. Resp Med 2003; 98: Johnson MJ et al. Morphine for relief of breathlessness in patients with chronic heart failure – a pilot study. Eur J Heart Failure 2001; 4: The Canadian Virtual Hospice accessed at on September 27, 2010.

46 Craig D. Blinderman, Peter Homel, J. Andrew Billings, Russell K. Portenoy and Sharon L. Tennstedt. Symptom Distress and Quality of Life in Patients with Advanced J of Pain and Symptom Management. Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages Goodin, Sarah J. Palliative Care in Congestive Heart Failure. J. Am College of Cardiology. Vol 54, No. 5, Pages 386. Goldstein, NF.Management of implantable cardioverter defibrillators in end- of-life care.Ann Intern Med Dec 7;141(11): Taylor, George. A Clinicians Guide to Palliative Care. Blackwell Science. 2003: Addington-Hall J, McCarthy M. Regional Study of Care for the Dying: methods and sample characteristics. Palliat Med Jan;9(1): Rose EA, Gelijns AC, Moskowitz AJ, Heitjan DF, Stevenson LW, Dembitsky W, Long JW, Ascheim DD, Tierney AR, Levitan RG, Watson JT, Meier P, Ronan NS, Shapiro PA, Lazar RM, Miller LW, Gupta L, Frazier OH, Desvigne-Nickens P, Oz MC, Poirier VL; Randomized Evaluation of Mechanical Assistance for the Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure (REMATCH) Study Group. Long-term use of a left ventricular assist device for end-stage heart failure. N Engl J Med Nov 15;345(20): References

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